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Copy 3 



FM 17-30 



WAR DEPARTMENT 



ARMORED FORCE 
FIELD MANUAL 

TANK PLATOON 
October 22, 1942 



regradedUNCLASSIFIEDby 

author of wdmmw.mt 

ov /rktiJQy qhJQMA^. fm 17-30 

ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 

TANK PLATOON 

CHANGES 1 WAR DEPARTMENT, 

No. 1 J Washington 25, D. C, 8 July 1944. 

FM 17-30, October 22, 1942, is changed as follows : 
■ 10. Description. 

* * * • • 

d. 

* * * * * 

(3) (Superseded.) (a) Base emission smoke shell M89 is 
a blunt-nose projectile with a maximum effective range of 1,600 
yards. Its shape makes it difficult to control for deflection and 
range. It bounces on firm terrain from 100 to 300 yards from 
the point of strike. Each round burns about 3 minutes. A 
platoon can screen a 400-yard frontage of average terrain within 
the effective range of the shell. 

(6) Smoke ammunition is fired by the section or platoon to 
screen or blind an enemy position during the maneuver or as- 
sault of attacking tanks. It is used on small areas at the com- 
mand of and controlled by the unit commander. It is not effec- 
tive when fired by a single tank. Since it takes from 1 to 2 
minutes to build a satisfactory screen, suspected areas are 
smoked before the start of the attack. After the attack is 
under way, high explosive is used against antitank guns which 
open fire on assaulting or maneuvering tanks. Tank smoke is 
not used on missions which properly belong to the organic 
assault guns or mortars. 

(c) The section or platoon fires three or four rounds per gun 
in about 1% minutes to screen a suspected area. With a flank 
wind, the screen is built up to windward of the target, so that 
it will drift onto and just in front of it. When firing into a 
head wind, tanks place smoke on or close behind the target. 
A crosswind of from 3 to 6 miles velocity is ideal. When the 
wind velocity is high (15 mph), the rate of fire is faster than 
in a slow wind (3 to 5 mph) . 

A.GO 150D 595304° 



ARMORED FORCE HELD MANUAL 




When the wind is blowing from the side, do not aim smoke shell 
at the front of the target. 




Aim the shell to the windward side. The wind will blow the smoke 
in front of or over the target. 

Figdeb 40. — Use of smoke shell, flank wind. 



2 



AGO lBftr 



TANK PLATOON 





AGO 150D 



3 



ABMOBED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Do not use smoke shell against definitely located infantry weapons 



o 




Destroy infantry weapons by machine gun and high explosive ricochet 
fire. 

FiauEE 42. — Do not use smoke against infantry weapons. 



4 



AGO 1B0D 



TANK PLATOON 




Destroy definitely locoted observation potts with high explosive 




Blind suspected observation posts with smoke shell when fire from 
other weapons is not available. 

Figure 43. — Use of smoke shell to blind an observation point. 

Figure 44, Use of smoke shell to cover maneuver, is rescinded. 
Figure 45, Use of smoke shell to blind an observation point, 
is rescinded. 

[A. G. 300.7 (28Jun 44).] 
AGO 150D 5 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



By order of the Secretary of War : 

G. C. MARSHALL, 

Chief of Staff. 

Official : 

J. A. ULIO, 

Major General, 

The Adjutant General. 
Distribution : 

As prescribed in paragraph 9a, FM 21-6 except D2, 7 (5), 
17 (20) ; B 17 (10) ; R 17 (10) ; Bn 17 (10) ; I Bn 2, • 
5-10 (3) ; C 17 (20) ; IC 2, 5-11 (5) . 

IBn2: T/O &E2-25, Ren So. (Mecz) ; 

I Bn 5 : T/O 5-215, Armd Engr Bn ; 

I Bn 6 : T/O & E 6-165, Armd FA Bn ; 

I Bn 7 : T/O 7-25, Armd Inf Bn ; 

I Bn 8 : T/O 8-75, Med Bn Armd ; 

I Bn 9 : T/O & E 9-65, Ord Maint Bn, Armd Div ; 

I Bn 10 : T/O & E 10-35, Sup Bn, Armd Div ; 

IC 2 : T/O & E 2-27, Ben Tr (Mecz) ; 

IC 5 : T/O 5-216, Hq & Hq Co, Armd Engr Bn ; 5-217, 
Co, Armd Engr Bn ; 

IC 6 : T/O & E 6-160-1, Hq & Hq Btry, Div Arty, Armd 
Div ; 6-166, Hq & Hq Btry, Armd FA Bn ; 6-167, Btry 
Armd FA Bn ; 6-169, Sv Btry, Armd FA Bn ; 

IC 7 : T/O 7-22, Hq & Hq Co, Armed Inf Begt ; 7-23, Sv 
Co, Armd Inf Begt; 7-27, Bifle Co, Armd Inf Begt, 
Rifle Co, Armd Inf Bn; T/O & E 7-26, Hq & Hq Co, 
Armd Inf Bn ; 7-29, Sv Co, Armd Inf Bn ; 

IC 8 : T/O & E 8-76, Hq & Hq Co, Med Bn, Armd ; 8-77, 
Co, Med Bn, Armd ; 

IC 9: T/O 9-36, Hq & Hq Co, Maint Bn, Armd Div; 
T/O & B 9-67, Co, Maint Bn, Armd Div ; 

IC 10 : T/O 10-36, Hq & Hq Co, Sup Bn, Armd Div ; 10- 
37, Trk Co, Sup Bn, Armd Div ; 

IC 11: T/O 11-57, Armd Sig Co; T/O & E 11-86-S, 
Hq & Hq Co, Armd Sig Bn; 11-87S, Sig Information 
and Monitoring Co ; 11-88-S, Co, Armd Sig. Bn, (Oper) ; 
11-89-S, Armd Sig Bn (Cons) (Oper). 

For explanation of symbols see FM 21-6. 

6 AGO 150D 

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING 0FFlCCil»44 



FM 17-30 

ARMORED FORCE FIELD 
MANUAL 



TANK PLATOON 




UNITED STATES 
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
WASHINGTON ! 19« 



WAR DEPARTMENT, 
Washington, October 22, 1942. 

FM 17-30, Armored Force Field Manual, Tank Platoon, is 
published for the i ''[formation and guidance of all concerned. 

[A. G. 062.11 (fr-18-12).] 

By order of the Secretary op War : 

G. C. MARSHALL, 

Chief of Staff. 

Official: 

J. A. ULIO. 

Major General, 

The Adjutant General. 
Distribution: 

D 2. 7 (5), 17 (20) ; Bn and H 17 (10) ; IBn 2, 5-10 (3) ; 

C 17 (20) ; IC 2, 5-11 (5). 
(For explanation of symbols see FM 21-6.) 

n 



TABLE OP CONTENTS 

Paragraphs Page 



Chapteh 1. Genera! 1-4 1 

Chapteb2. Training. 

Section I. General 5-6 6 

II. Terrain 7^8 8 

III. Weapons and ammunition 9-11 30 

Chapteh 3. Control, orders, and reconnaissance 12-14 54 

Chapter 4. Marches 15-18 59 

Chapter 5. Security 19-29 70 

Chapteh 6. Offensive action. 

Section I. General 30-32 121 

n. Tank crew 33-35 fl25 

III. Tank platoon 36-42 135 

Chapteb 7. Defense 43-45 156 

Index 159 



III 



FM 17-30 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 

TANK PLATOON 
CHAPTER 1 
GENERAL 

■ 1. Purpose and Scope. — a. This manual is written as a 
guide for the tactical training and combat procedure for 
the individual tank, the tanK section, and the tank platoon, 
both light and medium. The tactical procedures and meth- 
ods set forth herein are not to be followed as inflexible rules, 
as such practice would stifle individual Initiative. The 
methods of procedure given must be varied to meet the par- 
ticular situation at hand, 

b. Key to symbols used in this manual will be found on 
page 2. 

■ 2. Organization. — The tank platoon, both light and me- 
dium, consists of five tanks. The platoon is divided into 
a platoon headquarters consisting of the platoon leader and 
the crew of his tank, and two sections of two tanks each. 

■ 3. Characteristics. — a. The tank is characterized by great 
mobility, fire power, armor protection, and shock action. 
These characteristics are possessed in varying degTee by dif- 
ferent types of tanks. The characteristics dictate the man- 
ner of employment. All types of tanks are limited by their 
restricting vision devices. 

b. Light tanks, as compared to medium tanks, have less 
Are power, lighter armor and armament, greater speed, and 
better maneuverability. They are particularly fitted for — 

(1) Feeling out and developing weak spots in the enemy 
position through which medium tanks may attack. 

(2) Screening the advance against light enemy resistance. 

(3) Leading an attack against an unarmored enemy weak 
In antitank defense, when speed is essential. 

<4) A fast maneuvering force to exploit the success of other 
tanks. 

<5) Maneuver to flank or rear to strike the enemy com- 
mand posts, communication centers, reserves, and vital 
installations. 

1 



3 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



A OBSERVATION POST 



O RIFLEMAN 

RIFLEMAN (OUT OF 
ACTION) 

• — LIGHT MACHINE GUN 



.50^ 



CAL-50 MACHINE GUN 



ANTITANK GUN 



TANK SECTION LEADER 



TANK PLATOON COMDR 



MORTAR CARRIER 



til 



ASSAULT GUN (SELF 
PROPELLED ) 



AMMUNITION CARRIER 



OBSTACLE 



O-O MOTORCYCLE 

SCOUT CAR 
o TANK IN MOTION 



y(^N BUNKER 




EXPLOSIVE SHELL 
FIRE 



SMOKE SHELL FIRE 



TANK IN POSITION LD LINE OF DEPARTURE 

(6) Pursuing a defeated enemy. 

e. Medium tanks, because of their greater fire power, guns 
of heavier caliber, increased armor protection, and shocking 
power are used to — 

(1) Lead an attack against an enemy whose position and 
strength are known. 



2 



TANK PLATOON 



3-4 



(2) Support by Are the attack of either light or medium 
tanks. 

d. It is essential that tank crew members know the strength 
and weaknesses of their tank and its weapons. Furthermore, 
they must know the strength of their weapons as compared 
to enemy weapons likely to be encountered, 

■ 4, Operation. — The tank platoon is the smallest tank bat- 
tle unit. It normally operates as part of the tank company. 
However, it may operate as an independent unit as advance, 
flank, or rear guard or on similar missions. 

a. Methods. — Tanks operate by surprise, fire and maneu- 
ver, and in mass. The violation of these fundamentals will 
lead to ineffectual effort and perhaps disaster. 

(1) Surprise. — Surprise is gained by striking the enemy 
at an unexpected time, from an unexpected direction, with 
all strength possible. Speed of movement, use of covered 
approaches, and coordination of fires assist in gaining sur- 
prise. Seek to surprise the enemy but do not let yourself 
be surprised. Give the enemy credit for being as capable 
as yourself. Do not underestimate his ability. Do not be- 
come careless. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for it. 

(2) Fire and maneuver. — An advancing unit is covered by 
the fire of weapons in stationary position. This is important 
as the tank in the open is not only extremely vulnerable 
but movement, dust, and restricted vision make the locating 
of new targets extremely difficult. Tanks in defiladed posi- 
tion can quickly locate and promptly bring fire upon hostile 
weapons that fire upon the advancing tanks. This procedure 
of fire and movement may be by section, platoon, or company. 

(3) Mass, — Concentrate effort. Do not waste strength on 
numerous unimportant targets. Strike on a key position with 
all power that can be mustered. If this falls, others may 
then be taken. If effort is made on several positions, the 
enemy may easily destroy you by concentrating successively 
on each attacking element. 

b. Coordination. — Coordination of effort, that is, timing of 
all elements, is essential. An uncoordinated effort violates 
the fundamental of the use of mass. Therefore, in attack, 
time the movement of the tanks and the opening of fire by 



3 



4 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



supporting weapons or supporting tanks so that maximum 
effect is obtained. Teamwork is essential. 

c. Initiative and aggressiveness. — In order to obtain success 
in battle, leaders must exercise initiative and act aggressively. 
A small force acting under direction of an aggressive, alert, 
leader can overcome a much larger force whose leader is slow 
and nonaggressive. Do not let the enemy have time to get 
set. Conversely, do not rush headlong into battle with no 
plan of action. Think clearly, give clear orders, then act 
fast. 

cf. Striking weakness. — Seek to strike the enemy where he 
is weak in antitank defense. Do not drive headlong against 
strong antitank defense. Bypass It or call for assistance to 
reduce it. 

e. Mission and echelons of attack. — (1) The mission of 
tanks in the armored division is to attack and destroy vital 
hostile installations such as command posts, communication 
centers, supply installations, reserves, and artillery. 

(2) The mission of tanks in the separate tank battalions 
is to assist infantry, cavalry, or motorized divisions to advance 
by destroying hostile machine guns, personnel, and vital 
installations. 

(3) A tank attack will usually be launched in three echelons, 
each echelon in a series of waves. 

<a) The first echelon of attack, preceded by neutralization 
by combat aviation and artillery, if available, is directed 
against the antitank defenses, artillery, command posts, and 
other rear installations. CSee FM 17-33 and E"M 17-32.) 
Tank platoons of this echelon destroy first the enemy anti- 
tank defenses and second, enemy artillery- They attack 
enemy infantry only when hindered by it in fulfilling their 
primary missions. 

(t>) The platoons of the second echelon follow the first 
echelon at such distance that the enemy will not have time 
to re-form his antitank defenses. These platoons destroy 
hostile automatic guns and personnel and clear the way for 
the advance of infantry. Antitank guns passed over by the 
first echelon must be silenced by the leading waves of the 
•econd echelon. (See par. 38c.) 

(c) The tank platoons of the third echelon advance with 



4 



TANK PLATOON 



4 



the Infantry, destroy hostile machine guns passed over by 
the second echelon, and hostile personnel. The mission of 
this echelon Is to assist the advance of the Infantry. They 
may lead the infantry attack if resistance is still heavy. 
If resistance has been broken by the first two echelons, tanks 
of the third echelon will follow the infantry, prepared to 
attack isolated resistance as necessary. These tanks also 
protect the infantry from counterattack, particularly of 
mechanized forces. 



5 



CHAPTER 2 



TRAINING 



Paragraphs 



Sectioit I. General 

II. Terrain 

m. Weapons and ammunition. 



5-6 
7-8 
9-11 



Section I 



GENERAL. 



■ 5. General. — a. The subject of training is covered generally 
fn FM 21-5. In the tank, platoon the individual man plays 
an important roie. During the progress of an infantry or 
cavalry attack the commander is able, by personal contact, 
to command his troops. In the tank the commander cannot 
see his men face to face. The platoon leader must rely upon 
radio and signals for controlling his platoon. The tank at- 
tack progresses rapidly and the commander is not able per- 
sonally to influence the action as well as can commanders of 
other Units, Once the tank attack has started, success de- 
pends largely upon the training and initiative of the indi- 
vidual tank commander. For this reason the training of tank 
crews must be thorough. Each individual must know his 
job thoroughly and teamwork of the tank crew must be 
developed to a high degree. 

b, (1) The training of the tank crew, section, and platoon 
includes — 

(a) Use of terrain. 

(b) Selection of weapons and ammunition. 

(c) Communication and control, 

(d) Reconnaissance, 

(e> Marches and bivouacs. 
if) Security. 
(g) Offensive action, 
(ft) Defensive action. 

(2) Prior to training in these subjects, individual training 
and marksmanship (see FM 17-12) should have been com- 
pleted. Combat practice firing follows tactical training o! 
the crew. (See FM 17-15.) Tank crew drill is covered in 
FM 17-5. 



6 



TANK PLATOON 



6 



■ 6. Training Procedure. — The only purpose of tactical train- 
ing is to prepare for battle. Tactical exercises, therefore, 
are a vital part of training and are, in fact, a dress rehearsal 
for combat. Solutions of tactical situations should not be 
stereotyped, otherwise individual initiative is lost. There is 
usually more than one suitable solution to a tactical prob- 
lem. Emphasis should be placed upon Initiative and ag- 
gressive action. Once a decision is made, act quickly, boldly, 
and vigorously. The following procedure will be used in the 
preparation and execution of all tactical training exercises: ' 




Figure 1. — Sand table. 



0. The officer in charge of training by map study selects 
the area, personally reconnoiters the ground, and drafts the 
problem. With other officers he plays the problem on a 
map. 

b. The problem is next played on a sand table, using num- 
bered blocks of wood or miniature tanks to represent vehicles. 
(See TP 7-265 and 7-266.) If the problem is for individual 
tanks, the whole tank crew is present. If for the section or 
platoon, the noncommissioned officers and selected privates 
are present. The problem should be run several times and 
each man called upon for solutions. Interest is maintained 



7 



6-7 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



by Injecting small situations as the action progresses. Em- 
phasise decisions and immediate vigorous action. 

c. Following the sand table phase, the section or platoon 
executes the problem on the ground. After completing the 
problem, assemble all personnel and hold a critique. Point 
out errors and state a method of correcting these errors. 
Avoid ridicule. Repeat the problem as necessary. 

Section II 
TERRAIN 

■ 7. Study. — The estimate of terrain generally is covered in 
FM 101-5. 

a. The importance of the study of terrain cannot be over- 
emphasized. Battles are won or lost by the ability of the 
leader to estimate terrain and use it to his own advantage. 
The study of terrain must be continuous throughout all phases 
of training. Each individual must understand thoroughly 
how to use terrain to his own advantage and must appreciate 
how the enemy can use it. 

b. Study of terrain must be preceded by a thorough course 
in map and aerial photograph reading. Each individual must 
be taught the names of terrain features and then the method 
of converting these features to his advantage. Each indi- 
vidual must answer the following questions: 

(1) What is the nature of the soil? 

(2) Is It hard or soft? Will the tank sink in a short 
distance and then be able to move forward, or is there a 
crust which may carry the vehicle for a short distance and 
then break, bogging the machine? 

(3) Is the ground level or rolling? 

(4) Is the surface eroded, forming natural barriers around 
which a route must be reconnoitered? 

(5) Are stream banks soft and swampy, or hard? Steep 
or sloping? 

(6) Are stream bottoms hard sand or gravel, or soft mud? 

(7) What is the depth of the stream? Consider not only 
the depth to the actual bottom but also the amount the tank 
may sink. Know the fording depth of the tank. 

(8) What Is the type of vegetation? Does it provide con- 
cealment from air observation? From ground observation? 



8 



TANK PLATOON 



7-8 



(9) Does terrain afford good firing positions for support of 
maneuvering tanks? Does it afford concealed routes of 
approach? 

(10) Is the terrain heavily forested or covered only with 
light brush? 

(11) What is the background for an attack? Will the tank 
be silhouetted against the sky or a light-colored field? 

(12) Are there any defiles that will limit your movement? 
c. Following is one procedure for study of terrain: 

(1) By use of a sand table, teach terrain features and how 
to use them. (See par. 8.) For use of sand table, see TP 
7-265 and TP 7-266. 

(2) On the ground, walk the platoon over the terrain. 
Point out terrain features. Show how to use covered ap- 
proaches and firing positions. Demonstrate testing of 
swampy ground and fording depth of streams. 

(3) Have the platoon drive through the area in tanks; first 
with ports open and then with ports closed. 

■ 8. Use. — a. Foot troops use cover to minimise losses In 
approaching the enemy. The tank, although armored, must 
also make use of cover when practicable. The following 
factors render this operation difficult: 

(1) The tank forms a much larger target than the foot 
soldiers and cannot take advantage of small cover. There- 
fore, it is necessary that routes be carefully chosen. 

(2) The speed of the tank reduces the time available for 
selection of routes while moving. This difficulty is overcome 
to some extent by choosing, while in turret defilade, a route 
to a new position. 

(3) View from the tank is limited and good routes may be 
difficult to choose. This may be overcome to some extent by 
the tank commander observing from the open turret except 
when under fire. 

(4) The formation of the platoon or company may at times 
preclude maximum use of cover as tanks should not, without 
the platoon leader's authority, stray more than 50 yards from 
their assigned direction except when necessary to silence an 
antitank gun. 

(5) The driver, in seeking cover, must coordinate his action 



9 




10 



TANK PLATOON 



8 



with the gunner. Sudden changes or frequent unannounced 
changes of direction will seriously impair the aim of the 
gunner. 

b. Figures 3 to 21, inclusive, indicate incorrect and correct 
methods of using terrain. 




© Do not cross the crest of a treeless hill when It can be avoided. 




©Drive around the hill. 
Figure 3. — Passing & treeless hill. 

u 



8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




TANK PLATOON 



8 




® Do not approach the crest of an extended ridge In deep formation. 
The enemy can destroy your tanks one by one. 




© Approach the crest In line formation; then all tanks o£ the platoon 
reach the crest at the same time and are prepared to concentrate 
their ttre against the enemy battery or antitank gun which may 
be In position behind the ridge. 

Figure 5. — Method of crossing a ridge when detour Is impracticable. 



486462° — 42 2 



13 



8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not drive straight across country without taking advantage 
of folds in the ground. 



"1 




© Make use of small depressions and valleys. 
Figure 6. — Take advantage of folds in the ground. 



14 



TANK PLATOON 



8, 




i!) Do not drive straight across country without taking advantage of 
folds in the ground. 




© Make use of small depressions and valleys. 
Piobbe 7. — Make use or,depressions and valleys. 

15 



8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 





® Form platoon In double or single column. 
Figure 8. — Driving through closed terrain. 



16 



TANK PLATOON 




ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




8 




8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




© Go around the field, thus preventing telltale tracks. 



PiortaE 12. — Stay oa dark ground. 



20 



TANK PLATOON 




8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not pass through a dense forest in double column or wider 
formation. This necessitates the clearance of several paths and 
contact may be lost. 




© Pass through dense woods in one column and clear only one path. 
Figure 14. — Passing through woods. 



22 



TANK PLATOON 




8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




TANK PLATOON 



8 




8 



ARMOKED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Drive through fog in double column in order to narrow and 
sliorten the formation. 

Figure 18. — Passing through fog. 



?6 



TANK PLATOON 



8 




© Do not drive through smoke cloud in wedge formation. As the 
tanks come out ol the smoke cloud the enemy can destroy them 
one after the other. 




® Drive through a smoke cloud In line formation. The tank platoon 
comes out of the cloud all together, ready to fire. If defiladed or 
concealed positions can he taken up until smcke Cloud passes, 
do so. (See FM 17-32.) 

Figure 19. — Driving through smoke cloud. 



27 



8 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Figure 20. — Passing through a defile. Spread out aa soon as defile 
is passed In order to bring more fire power to bear on the enemy 
and to offer a less concentrated target. 



28 



TANK PLATOON 



8 




® If an obstacle is crossed In column, much time Is lost, for all 
vehicles must watt until the tank ahead is across. 




© When an obstacle is crossed on a wide Tront, each vehicle requires 
the same time. The column then can be quickly re-formed. 

Figure 21. — Crossing obstacles such as ditches. 



486462*^-42 3 29 



9-10 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



Section HI 
WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION 

■ 9. General. — The tank is armed with several weapons of 
different calibers each of which is provided with more than 
one type of ■ ammunition. The tank crew must be carefully 
trained in the characteristics of these weapons, their capa- 
bilities and limitations, and the proper use of each. The 
gunner and tank commanders must know instinctively what 
weapons to use and the proper type of ammunition for each 
target. 

■ 10. Description. — a. Depending upon the type of tank, the 
weapons available are the caliber .30 machine gun, the 37-mm 
gun, and the 75-mm gun. In addition, the tank has 12 
grenades, fragmentation, incendiary, and smoke, and the 
individual weapons of the crew, submachine gun and pistol. 

b. The machine gun is an antipersonnel weapon. When 
fired from a stationary tank it may be effective at ranges 
up to 2,500 yards. However, It will normally not be used 
beyond 1,000 yards. From a moving tank not equipped with 
the gyro stabilizer, the machine gun should not be used at 
ranges greater than 300 yards. With the gyro stabilizer, 
ranges are the same as from a stationary tank. The M1919A4 
caliber .30 machine gun cannot deliver sustained fire like 
the M1917 water-cooled gun. Caliber .30 armor piercing am- 
munition will penetrate the shield of antitank weapons at 
200 yards. 

c. The 37-mm gun has three types of ammunition: can- 
nister, high explosive, and armor piercing. 

(1) Cannister ammunition is used against personnel at 
ranges up to 200 yards. (See FM 23-80 and FM 23-81.) 

(2) High explosive ammunition is used against unarmored 
weapons in position, such as machine guns or antitank guns, 
from an unprotected side. It is no good against armored 
vehicles or bunkers. 

(3) 37-mm armor piercing ammunition is effective against 
most hostile light and medium tanks up to a range of 800 
yards. It is also used against emplacements. 



30 



TANK PLATOON 



10-11 



d. The 75-mm gun is equipped with armor piercing, high 
explosive, and smoke shell. 

(1) Armor piercing ammunition is effective against most 
hostile tanks up to a range of 1,600 yards. The armor pierc- 
ing shell itself is effective against unarmored vehicles beyond 
limit of vision of the flrer, normally 2,500 to 3,000 yards. 

(2) High explosive ammunition is used against antitank 
guns, machine-gun emplacements, and occasionally against 
personnel. It is effective beyond the limit of vision (see (1) 
above) . By indirect fire with an observer, it may be used at 
ranges of 7,500 yards. 

(3) Smoke ammunition is effective as in (1) and (2) above. 
It is used to screen antitank guns so that the tank may move 
to a more favorable position. The smoke cloud from this 
projectile is effective 50 yards downwind and the smoke ele- 
ment burns for 10 seconds. The smoke is placed in front of or 
on the target. For the greatest effect, fire to the windward 
and just in front of the target. If wind direction cannot be 
determined, fire just in front of the target on the line tank- 
target. Note direction of smoke cloud and Are another shell 
if necessary. If wind is blowing indirectly toward you, fire 
in or just behind the target. The smoke shell is also effective 
against personnel and is incendiary. 

■ 11. Conservation of Ammunition. — Each exercise sched- 
uled for company training must include training in ammuni- 
tion conservation. Although exercises are conducted without 
ammunition, this subject must always be kept in mind. 
During exercises, the 37-mm and 75-mm gunner should be 
required to simulate firing and assistant gunners should keep 
track of the number of rounds the gunner has simulated 
firing. When all ammunition is fired, the gunner ceases 
firing. , This is one of the principal ways in which troops 
can be trained in conservation of ammunition. If promiscu- 
ous simulated firing without thought of ammunition supply 
is permitted, wasteful habits will be developed. The tank 
commander requires frequent reports from gunners concern- 
ing ammunition supply. The chart below shows in a startling 
manner what a comparatively small amount of ammunition 
is available. 



31 



11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



Weapons 



Rounds 
carried 



Usable 
rate of 
fire per 
minute 

per 
weapon 



Number of 
minutes 
ammuni- 
tion will 

last, firing 
at usable 
rate 



Light tank, M3: 

3 caliber .30 machine 
guns 

1 37-mm gun 

Medium tank M3: 

2 caliber .30 machine 
guns 

1 37-mm gun 

1 75-mm gun 

Medium tank M4: 

2 caliber .30 machine 
guns 

1 caliber .50 machine 

gun 

1 75-mm gun 



4, 000 
103 



4, 000 
150 
50 



4, 000 

300 
96 



125 
10 



125 
10 



125 

125 
6 



10 
10 



16 
15 
8 



2. 5 
16 



32 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




® Fire from stationary tank. Move nearer If It is only an enemy 
machine gun. 

Figure 22. — Firing on a point target from moving target. 



33 



11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not flght advancing enemy Infantry from a moving tank at a 
range of 500 yards or greater, if suitable stationary firing positions 
are available. 




© Shoot from stationary tank with machine guns; move the tank 
forward after the enemy has started to take cover. 

Figure 23. — Firing on foot troops from a. moving tank. (See also 

flg. 24.) 



34 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Do not attack a dismounted column with the Blow-flrlng 37-nam 
gun with armor piercing or high explosive shell; the effect will not 
be great enough. 




© Make a surprise attack with the fast-firing machine gun. If 
column is within ZOO yards, use 37-mm cannister. 

Figure 25. — Attacking a column of foot troops or noise cavalry. 

36 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




© When you are not under Are, do not Are at 500 yards, or greater 
range, Irom a moving tank at an enemy antitank gun which Is 
firing at some other target. The effect of your Are is too uncer- 
tain and discloses your position. 




® Go into position at once and shoot with all guns at the crew of 
the antitank gun; the effect of fire from a stationary tank at 800 
yards range Is excellent. 

Figube 28. — Attacking hostile antitank gun which is firing at some 
other target. 



37 



11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 





© 

Frcxrai: 27. — Attacking hostile antitank gun that Is firing at another 
target. (See also flg. 26.) 



38 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




© Do not shoot at a larger but less dangerous target (ammunition 
section) while an enemy antitank gun Is moving into position.^ 




® Attack at once; are with all guns at the enemy antitank gun. 
Figure 28. — Attack more dangerous target. 



39 



11 ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




T> DO not Are with a machine gun at an antitank gun going into 
position at ranges in excess of 800 yards. 




<£> Fire with the 37-mm or 75-mm gun at the antitank gun goinp 
into position. 

PictJBE 29. — Firing at an antitank gun going into position. 



40 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




® Do not attack an antitank gun frontally at 350 yards or greater 
range by machine-gun Are. The machine-gun projectiles do not 
penetrate the armor plate at ranges greater than 350 yards. 




© Fire at the target with the 37-mm armor pie-Cng or 75-mm liigh 
explosive or armor piercing shell. It will penetrate the armor 
plate, destroy the weapon, and eliminate the crew. 



Figure 30. — Attacking an antitank gun frontally. 



41 



11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not fire with only the 37-mm gun at any enemy antitank gun 
(400 yards away) pointing in another direction. 




® Fire with all guns at the unprotected flank of the antitank gun. 
Picum 31. — Firing at a hostile antitank gun. 



42 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




1] AiiMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




®Move into position at once and take tne enemy tank under fire 
with armor piercing projectiles from your stationary tank. 

Figure 33. — Attacking enemy tanka. 



44 



TANK PLATOON 



11 



o- 

® Do not attack an enemy tank with the 37-mm tank gun at more 
than 800 yards. This Is a waste of ammunition. 

o- 

©Iiet enemy tank approach to within at least 800 yards range. 
Figure 34. — Firing at hostile tanks. 



o- 

® Do not attack an enemy tank with explosive shells. 

O €> 

® Fire with armor piercing shells. 
Figure 35. — Attacking enemy tanks. 



486462* — 42 



45 



11 -ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




©Do not Are at an enemy machine gun, not emplaced, with the 
slow-firing 37-mm tank gun using high explosive or armor 
piercing shell. This is a waste ol ammunition. 




® Eliminate the enemy machine-gun crew by fast-firing machine 
guns or use 37-mm cannlster if within 200 yards. 

Figure 38. — Attacking hostile machine guns. 



46 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




] ] ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




®Do not try to destroy the crew of an enemy machine gun at 
close range with explosive shells. 




® At close range, use machine guns to destroy living targets. If 
range is less than 2QQ yards, use cannlsters. 

Figure 38. — Attacking a hostile machine gun at close range. 



48 



TANK PLATOON 



11' 





©Destroy the loopholes by 37-mm or 75-mm tank gun fire, using 
armor piercing projectiles. 

Ficuue 39. — Firing at loopholes in a bunker. 



49 



11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANTTAL 




® Do not fire with high explosive on a target not exactly determined. 

WittO 




? 

® Screen wltb smoke shell the view of the suspected weapon, thus 
hindering Its effectiveness, 

FiouitE 40. — Firing at target the position of which has not been 
exactly determined. 




© When the wind is blowing from the side, do not aim smoke shell 
at the front of the target. 

YtltiD 




® Aim the shell to the windward side. The wind will blow the 
smoke In front of the target. 

FictroE 41. — Use of smoke shell, flank wind. 
50 



TANK PLATOON 



11 




o 

® When the wind is blowing from your Iront, do not place the 
.smoke shell In rront ol the target. This does not blind the 
antitank gun. 

-* — VfiND 




o 



® In this case, place the shell behind the target; then the wind will 
screen it completely. 

Figuhb 42. — Use ol smoke shell, bead wind. 

Wirhfo 



O 




O 

© Do not use smoke shell against definitely located Infantry 
weapons. 

O 



700 r&s 

O 

® Destroy Infantry weapons by high explosive shells and ricochet 

firing. 

Fionas 43. — TJse ol smoke shell against small arms. 
51 



11 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



o 



sooros. 

H 




® While changing position, do not answer antitank gun Are with 
explosive shells. 



o 




© Blind the antitank gun immediately with smoke shell, proceed to 
the next position, and from there destroy the antitank gun with 
explosive shell. 

Figure 44. — Use of (smoke shell to cover maneuver. 



TANK PLATOON 



U 




CHAPTER 3 



CONTROL, ORDERS, AND RECONNAISSANCE 

■ 12. Control. — a. Purpose. — Control is essentia] to coordi- 
nated action. Loss of control leads to uncoordinated and 
uneffectual effort. The platoon leader must at all times be 
able to direct the maneuver of his platoon and to concentrate 
the fire power of the platoon as desired. 

b. Tactical control. — The platoon leader controls the pla- 
toon initially by clear, definite orders as to direction of attack, 
zones, and objectives. During the attack he controls move- 
ment by means of radio orders and flag signals. Less fre- 
quently, orders will be given to assembled tank commanders 
during lulls in the fighting. 

c. Fire control. — For fire control of individual weapons by 
the tank commander, see Field Manual for the weapon con- 
cerned. For list of Field Manuals and Technical Manuals, 
see FM 21-6. Prior to the attack the platoon leader points 
out known targets and Indicates which weapons are to fire 
on these targets. For the advance, he designates tanks to 
guard to the front, right, and left. (See FM 17-12, 23-80, 
23-81, and 23-95.) During the attack the platoon leader by 
radio directs the fire of his platoon or of a tank or section 
upon certain targets if these targets have not already been 
adequately engaged. 

■ 13. Orders. — a. Initial orders are given to the assembled 
tank commanders from a point from which as much as prac- 
ticable of the area over which the platoon is to advance can 
be seen. If this is impracticable, show the zone and direc- 
tion of advance on a map, sketch, or aerial photograph. In- 
dicate objectives and rallying points. Make the order brief 
but clear. The order should include — 

(1) Information of the enemy and terrain. 

(2) Mission of the company. 

(3) Mission of the platoon. 

(4) Fire support, that is, mortar, assault gun, or artillery. 

(5) Attack position. 

(6) Direction of attack. 



54 



TANK PLATOON 



13-14 



(7) Objectives. 

(8) Formation of platoon. 

(9) Scheme of maneuver, that is, attack straight to front 
or one section making envelopment. Orders for each section 
if platoon does not attack in one wave. 

(10) Time of attack or signal for the attack. 
<11) Rallying point, 

(12) Alternate rallying point. 

(13) Special signals, if any. 

6. During the advance, orders are given by radio or by flag 
signal, except during lulls in combat, when section leaders 
or tank commanders may be assembled for receiving orders. 




Figure 46. — Do not give orders from map or by description alone U 
you can reach a position from which terrain and enemy may be 
pointed out. 



■ 14, Reconnaissance, — a. The tank platoon Is not a recon- 
naissance unit although at times it may be used for 
reconnaissance purposes. When on purely reconnaissance 
missions, its functions are as described in PM 17-20. This 
paragraph covers employment and battle reconnaissance. 

b. The tank has limitations as a reconnaissance vehicle due 
to limited observation and noise. However, in many situa- 
tions tanks must be used for reconnaissance because of their 



55 



14 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



armament and armor protection. Much of the employment 
reconnaissance, because of these restrictions and also to pre- 
vent discovery of the presence of tanks, must be made on 
foot. However, every effort should be made to thoroughly re- 
connoiter the terrain and the enemy positions. Employment 
reconnaissance may be classified as hasty and deliberate. 




Figure 47. — Give order from point where terrain and enemy can 

be seen. 



(1) When attacking from march column or when making 
a deep movement into enemy held terrain, deliberate recon- 
naissance, because of the lack of time, may not be possible. 
In such case the platoon leader makes a hasty map 
reconnaissance, gains all the information he can from his 
company commander, and passes all information along to 
his tank commanders. He tentatively selects his route of ad- 
vance from the map or carefully studies the route designated 
by the company commander. He notes what will apparently 
be difficult places, places where cover is meager or lacking, 
and available cover. As he advances, he moves from ob- 
servation point to observation point and continuously studies 
the ground to the front and flanks. 

(2) (a) During combat, reconnaissance is continuous. The 
platoon leader and individual tank commander constantly 



56 



TANK PLATOON 



14 



observe in order to choose routes, select positions, and find 
enemy installations. The platoon leader must keep his com- 
pany commander informed concerning the situation. He 
should constantly ask himself the following questions; 

1. Where am I? 

2. Where is the enemy? 

3. What is my mission? 

4. What is the enemy doing? 

5. What weapons is he using? 

6. How can I best use the terrain? 

(b) In his reports to the company commander, the platoon 
leader should answer all or part of the following questions: 

1. Where am I? 

2. What am I doing? 

3. Where is the enemy? 

4. What is the enemy doing? 

5. What weapons is he using against me? 

6. What is enemy's strength? 

7. What is on my flanks? 

8. What are my losses? 

9. What am I going to do? 

(3) In a coordinated attack, particularly in the penetra- 
tion of a position, there will usually be more time for recon- 
naissance. If infantry or reconnaissance units are in con- 
tact with the enemy and time is available after receipt of 
orders (see PM 17-22) , the platoon leader, section leaders, 
tank commanders, and drivers If possible, Teconnoiter the 
ground from -the attack position to the line of departure. 
From an observation point, the zone of advance is studied 
as far forward as practicable and routes for each tank 
selected. Maps or aerial photographs are studied to deter- 
mine character of terrain beyond the limit of vision. This 
reconnaissance cannot be too detailed. 

c. During battle, reconnaissance is continuous to discover 
enemy positions and weapons, routes of approach, detours 
around impassable ground, and anything that will affect the 
progress of the platoon. 

d. The platoon leader must keep his company commander 
fully informed of the results of reconnaissance. When re- 
porting, be sure to give your own position. 



57 



14 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




CHAPTER 4 



MARCHES 

■ 15. General. — For detailed discussions of marches, see PM 
17-10, 17-50, 17-32, 17-33, and 25-10. For security on the 
march, see chapter 5. 

a. A good march places men and equipment at their destina- 
tion at the proper time and in condition to fight. The suc- 
cess of a march depends upon good march discipline which 
can be obtained only by practice and rigid enforcement of 
march rules. 

b. The platoon, except when detailed on security missions, 
marches as part of the company. The platoon leader, when 
contact with the enemy is not imminent, marches at the head 
of the platoon and is responsible for the proper distance from 
the unit ahead. He frequently observes to the rear to check 
on his platoon. When contact is imminent, platoon leaders 
will usually march at the head of the company and platoons 
are conducted by the platoon sergeant. 

c. Radio silence is maintained when in the presence of the 
enemy and as otherwise ordered. However, radio receivers 
are turned on and tuned to the battalion or other frequency as 
directed in order that immediate air alarm may be transmitted 
to all tanks. 

d. A march must not be considered as a joy ride. All men 
must be alert. Weapons must be ready to repel a ground or 
air attack. Tank commanders observe from the turret and 
keep close watch for enemy air or ground troops and for dis- 
tance to the tank ahead. 

e. The following should be particularly stressed (see also 
FM 17-32) : 

(1) Keep proper distance from vehicle ahead. 

(2) Glance to rear occasionally to observe march of other 
vehicles. 

(3) Watch for air or ground attack. 

(4) Keep to right of road when there is two-way traffic. 
Travel in center of high -crowned road when there is one-way 
traffic but watch out for vehicles trying to pass. 



59 



15-18 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



(5) Move off road at halt or as far off the side as practicable 
if ditches prevent moving completely off the road. Use avail- 
able cover but do not close up. Keep distance. 

(6) Change drivers at the halt. 

<7) Keep alert. Keep weapons ready for use. 

■ 16. Rate and Distance. — a. The march rate of medium 
tanks will not exceed 17 miles per hour. Light tanks when not 
in column with medium tanks may exceed this rate. 

b. The distance per vehicle will depend upon the time of day 
and the possibility of air attack. The usual distance per vehi- 
cle is 88 yards, that is twenty vehicles per mile. When theie 
is danger of frequent and heavy air attacks, this distance 
should be increased to 176 yards ot 0.1 mile. 

c. At night, distance is decreased so that the driver can see 
the night lights of the vehicle ahead. 

■ 17. Halts. — a. Halts are usually made for 10 minutes every 
2 hours. At the halt, do not remain idle. Inspect the tank 
and refuel as necessary. Have one man on the weapons ready 
to repel ground or air attack. Do not let yourself be surprised. 
Drivers should be changed at these halts. Do not close up. 

b. Refueling halts, usually of 16-hour duration, are made 
every 4 hours. Men may be fed during these halts. 

c. See also paragraph 15/. 

■ 18. Maintenance. — Tanks that fall out of column pull to the 
side of the road, under cover if practicable. The company 
maintenance section following the company makes a hasty 
examination of the vehicle. If it can be repaired in 10 min- 
utes, this maintenance section makes necessary adjustments. 
If more extensive repairs or adjustments are necessary, the 
vehicle is left for the battalion section of the regimental main- 
tenance company, which is following the battalion. The crew 
remains with the vehicle. 



60 



TAHK- PLilTOON 



18 




Figure 48. — On a high-crowned road with one-way traffic, drive In 

center. 




Fictnuc 50. — Do not close up tanks during a halt, thereby offering a 
good air target. Halt with proper march distance bo as not to 
present a massed target. 



48 6462"— 42 5 



61 



IS- 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




TANK TLATOON 18 




63 



18 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® When the movement of the sun changes the shadow, change the 
tank's position with the shadow. 

Figure 53. — Halt on shady side of buildings. 



64 



TANK PLATOON 



18 




18 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not halt so vehicles will have to back out to return to the 

road. 




® Head vehicles so they can be moved directly forward to the road. 
Turn turrets so guns of platoon will give all around protection. 



Figuhe 55. — Position of vehicles at the halt. 



66 



TANK PLATOON 



18 




lg AuMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not drive in the dust beside road, even if shaded. Drive on 
the hard surface where no dust cloud is raised. 




® Do not drive off the road where a dust cloud attracts attention of 
the enemy. 

Figure 57. — Dust clouds. 



68 



TANK PLATOON 18 




® When moving at night, the tank commander must observe from 
the turret, recognize obstacles, and understand the light signals 
of the platoon commander. The tank commander must not sleep 
during a night march. 



Picdee 58. — Night driving. 



69 



CHAPTER 5 



SECURITY 

■ 19. General. — The subject of security generally is covered 
in FM 100-5 and FM 17-10. This chapter covers local security 
for the platoon and the platoon on security missions. 

a. Security is the responsibility of all commanders from the 
highest to the lowest. The higher commander is responsible 
for security of the command as a whole. The tank platoon Is 
responsible for its own local security. Do not let the enemy 
surprise you. Do not become careless. Do not relax vigilance 
because you think the enemy is far away. Small hostile 
groups may approach bp stealth. Paratroops may attack. 
There is always danger of air attack. 

b. Security for the tank platoon is obtained by — 

" CI) Posting observers to warn of hostile ground or air 
attack. 

(2) Keeping some of guns manned at all times. (For in- 
structions on loading and half-loading alert weapons, see 
FM 17-32.) 

(3) Concealment' and camouflage. 

(4) Use of slit trenches. 

■ 20. On the March. — a. On the march — 

(1) Take and keep proper distance between vehicles (80 
to 170 yards; see ch. 4). 

(2) Keep radio silence. 

(3) Tune receivers of all vehicles to battalion command or 
other frequency as directed in order to receive early informa- 
tion of air or ground attack. 

(4) Tank commanders observe from turrets. Keep alert 
for ground and air attack. 

(5) Gunners remain ready to deliver fire instantly. 

b. The platoon may be given, the mission of protecting to 
the front, either flank, or the rear. If the platoon is acting 
alone, individual tanks are given these missions. 



70 



TANK PLATOON 



20 





72 



TANK PLATOON 



21-22 



■ 21. At the Halt. — At temporary halts during the march, 
when the tank platoon is operating within the column, the 
following security measures are taken: 

a. Move off the road if practicable and Into concealment. 

b. Disperse vehicles. 

C. Point guns to give all around defense. 

d. Keep one man in each tank on the gun. 

e. Keep one man on platoon leader's radio. 

/. Post one or two men armed with submachine guns to a 
flank as necessary. This will not be necessary if flank Is 
open and view unobstructed. 

g. Post air and ground observer. 

ft. Post man on road to receive signals from company com- 
mander. 

i. Dig slit trenches if halt is for more than 15 minutes. 
j. Place tanks so they can move out without backing. 

■ 22. In Bivouac. — In bivouac, the tank platoon leader — 

a. Places platoon in its assigned area for all around de- 
fense, dispersed at not less than 50-yard intervals. 

b. Places tanks so they can be readily moved out without 
backing. 

C. Has slit trenches dug for crew members. 

d. Sights guns for defense and details men to fire these 
guns if such should be necessary. 

e. Has tank crew bivouac at its tank. 

/. Establishes a platoon CP at his tank and has at least 
one member of the platoon awake at this CP at all times. 

g. Checks concealment and camouflage. 

h. Has tank tracks brushed out to prevent disclosure of 
position. 



73 



22 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Da not drive forward into concealment; there will be difficulties 
when backing out. 




® Back into concealment; then driving out will be easy. 
Figure 61. — Method of getting under cover. 



74 



TANK PLATOON 



22 




Ptotjre 63. — Often foliage of trees does not afford sufficient cover. 
In this case, the tanks must be camouflaged with branches 
against aerial and ground observation. 



75 



22 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not assemble the tanks at intervals of less than 50 yards. 
In such crowded formation, heavy losses are to be expected from 
artillery Are and bombing attacks. 




<D Extend the distance between tanks to at least 50 yards in order 
to reduce casualties. 

Figure 64. — Disperse vehicles. 



76 



TANK PLATOON 22 




® Do not remain in the turret when backing into concealment. 




® When backing into concealment, dismount and assist the driver 
■ by signaling the direction. 

Figure 65. — Backing into concealment. 



486462' — 42 6 77 



22 ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not neglect to blot out the tracks left on the road fcy turning 
tanks. Even If tanks are well camouflaged In the woods, the 
tracks will betray the position of the platoon. 




® Blot out the tracks immediately, thus leaving no clues to enemy 
airplanes. 

Figube 66. — Blot Out tracks. 



78 



TANK PLATOON 



22 




Ficuei; 67. — Keep crews In shade and under cover. Avoid move- 
ment in the open. 



79 



22 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not let the driver do a!l the maneuvering himself when 
driving into assembly position at night; accidents and damage to 
the tanks are the consequence. 




® The tank commander must dismount and precede the tank on 
foot, directing the driver into the assembly position by dimmed 
light signals. 



Ficuee 68. — Movement into bivouac at night. 



80 



TANK PLATOON 



22 




ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 





83 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



TANK PLATOON 



23-25 



■ 23. In Assembly Area. — Security measures In assembly area 
are similar to those in bivouac except that slit trenches are 
not dug unless the area is to be occupied for more than 15- 
minutes. In assembly area, men prepare their tanks for 
action. 

■ 24. At Rallying Point. — The most opportune time for the 
enemy to strike is while a unit is reorganizing; therefore, the 
first consideration at the rallying point ts security. At the 
platoon rallying point, if one is designated at a different place 
from that of the company, the platoon leader sites tank 
weapons to cover hostile avenues of approach and designates 
observers to warn of hostile advance. He then checks and 
reorganizes his platoon. At the rallying point, conceal 
vehicles and disperse them. 

■ 25. Tank Platoon as Advance Party. — a. The tank platoon 
may be detailed as the advance guard for a company or as the 
advance party of a larger force. In any case its action is the 
same. 

b. The duty of the advance guard is to secure the uninter- 
rupted march of the main body, brush aside small enemy 
resistance, and give the main body time and space for de- 
velopment. The commander of the advance guard must act 
quickly and boldly. He will have little time for estimate 
of the situation or the terrain. 

c. Figure 75 shows the tank platoon as advance party. It 
uses two tanks as a point. The platoon will usually have one 
or more motorcycles, an assault gun, and a mortar attached 
to it. 

d. The support commander with the artillery observer 
usually rides between the advance party and the support- 
The advance party may expect speedy artillery support. 

e. The point and advance party are responsible for security 
and observation within view of the route. 

/. The column is ordinarily preceded by the division recon- 
naissance company, the reconnaissance company of an 
armored regiment, and the reconnaissance platoon of the 
armored battalion. This latter is from 3 to 7 miles in front 
of the advance guard. Despite this fact, the advance guard 
must take great care in its advance. Reconnaissance units 



85 




86 




87 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 















POINT 

100-500 YDS 



1/2 - I MINUTE 
DEPENDING ON TERRAIN 



> 300-800 YDS 



J 



Picture 75. — Reinforced platoon as advance party. 



88 



TANK PLATOON 



25 



Will rarely find all ths enemy. Hostile troops may place road 
blocks after reconnaissance elements have passed. The point 
and the advance party commander must keep always on the 
alert to detect enemy activity. 

g. When contact with the enemy is Imminent, all weapons 
are loaded and gun crews prepared to fire at once. Vehicles 
advance so that a leading vehicle is always covered by one 
or more vehicles in the rear. Vehicles must remain in sight 
of each other. Figures 76 to 90, inclusive, show methods of 
advance and action to be taken if the enemy is met. 



89 




90 



TANK PLATOON 



25 




25 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Figure 78. — The tank gunner must be behind his gun when contact 
with the enemy is made. He is then ready to deliver the first 
shot against the enemy tank or armored car. 



92 



TANK PLATOON 




25 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




FiotntE 80. — Action of point when enemy armored vehicle la met. 




PiotmB 81. — Do not shoot at an oncoming enemy motorcyclist from 
a moving tank; he may escape and notify his unit ol your pres- 
ence. Stop the tank at once. Then, by accurate Are, the enemy 
motorcyclist can be destroyed. 



94 



TANK PLATOON 



25 




25 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 





97 




98 



TANK PLATOON 



25 




© Do not attempt ta engage by frontal attack of tank crews the 
enemy defending a blacked bridge by concealed machine-gun 
are. 











<C7 


•■■ , w«v. Vltll j 0ffl j 1 .sH*^ 



® Leading vehicles should engage the hostile machine gun while 
remaining vehicles move around the lake to destroy the enemy 
by flank attack. If only two vehicles are present, use one to make 
a flank attack. If antitank guns are encountered, use assault 
gun are to silence them or blind them with smoke of the mortar, 

Fii;im£ 86. — Attacking a road block. 



99 



25 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 





® Reach the objective by use of available cover; first vehicles go 
into position engaging the enemy. Remaining tanks attacfc 
from the flunk under cover. 

Picttre 87. — Attacking a village. 



100 



TANK PLATOON 



25 



0-| 




1 1 

a o <? 






°-gl 







® Do not fight a well -protected road block In a village by direct 
frontal fire. 







ha^ — 






II - o 



(D Try Immediately to destroy the enemy by a flank or rear attack. 
Figube 88. — Attacking a road block in a village. 



101 



25 ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not move out from edge of woods without covering the 
foreground with a halted tank. 




Have one tank go into position in edge of woods and observe. 
This tank covers the exit and subsequent advance of the platoon. 

Figure 89.— Emerging from woods. 



102 



TANK PLATOON 



25 




© Do not halt outside the edge ot a woods; your tank becomes an 
easy prey to enemy antitank guns. 




Q) Halt as deep m the woods as observation permits, utilizing as much 
cover as possible. 

Piguke 9D. — Halting in edge o! woods. 



103 



26-27 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



■ 26. Plank Guard. — a. The platoon may be detailed as a 
flank guard- Light tanks, because of their greater mobility, 
are more suitable for this mission. As a flank guard, the 
platoons will usually be reinforced with an assault gun, mortar, 
two or more motorcycles or %-ton trucks, and a squad of 
infantry. 

b. A platoon acting as flank guard travels on roads parallel 
to the main body and from 2 to 5 miles to the flank. It may 
march roughly abreast the main body or may occupy succes- 
sive positions to protect the flank. It must give immediate 
warning of any enemy encountered and delay any enemy 
attack from the flank. (See figs. 91 and 92.) 

■ 27. Rear Guard. — a. A rear guard may be detailed for either 
advancing or retiring troops. Its mission is to protect the 
main body from harassment by the enemy, to delay enemy 
forces advancing on the rear, and to collect stragglers and 
vehicles falling out of column. During a withdrawal, the rear 
guard destroys bridges or otherwise blocks roads. 

b. The rear guard, unlike the advance guard, can expect 
little assistance from the main body. It follows the main, 
body at such distance that the enemy will be unable to harass 
that element. When the enemy pursues rapidly, the rear 
guard fights a delaying action by occupying successive posi- 
tions. It withdraws from a position before becoming heavily 
engaged. Withdrawal is made by bounds, one portion of the 
rear guard covering the withdrawal of the remainder. In 
some cases the rear guard may have to fight a delaying action 
in one position in order to give the main body an opportunity 
to retire. In such event, it must hold the position at all costs. 
The main body then details a new rear guard 

c. The tank platoon may be either part of a rear guard or, 
reinforced, It may be the rear guard. Figures 93 and 94 show 
formations and methods of operation of the tank platoon as 
a rear guard. 



104 



TANK PLATOON 



27 




Ficurs 91. — One method of operation of flank guard. Platoon 
advances parallel to and roughly abreast of the column. Platoon 
leader must know tlie phase lines and time for passing each. 



105 



27 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




TANK PLATOON 



27 



SUPPORT OR 
MAIN BODY 

VARIABLE 



REAR PARTY 
200-300 YDS 



MINUTE 



REAR POINT 



Figure 93. — Rear guard formation, reinforced tank platoon. Recon- 
naissance units may be behind the rear guard. 



107 



27 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




108 



TANK PLATOON 



28 



■ 28. Outpost. — a. The mission of the outpost is to protect a 
resting command or a defensive position against annoyance, 
surprise, and observation by ground forces. At a halt, a 
march outpost is first established and next a more detailed 
outpost system is established. The tank platoon may be part 
of the outpost, 

i>. As an outpost the platoon — 

(1) Repulses minor enemy attacks, 

(2) Establishes outguards to warn of enemy approach, 

(3) Prevents enemy ground reconnaissance of the bivouac 
area, 

c. An outpost establishes a reserve, supports, and outguards. 
(See PM 17-10.) It may have detached posts at certain 
points. Supports are numbered from right to left. Each 
support posts outguards and these are numbered from right 
to left in each outguard. (See fig. 95.) 

d. The distance of the outpost system from the bivouac de- 
pends upon the terrain, weather, duration of the halt, and 
proximity of the enemy. 

(1) During a short halt, security is posted close by as the 
unit should be ready for instant battle. At longer halts, se- 
curity Is at such distance that timely warning of enemy ap- 
proach may be given and resting troops alerted. V 

(2) When the enemy is close, security must be posted 
farther out than when the enemy is at a great distance. 
This distance is measured in time as well as miles. A motor- 
ized or mechanized enemy on ordinary terrain is much closer 
in time than is an enemy on foot. 

(3) In misty or foggy weather, security is posted close-in, 

(4) During daylight, security detachments occupy points 
of good observation. At night they occupy lower ground and 
especially guard roads. During daylight the number and 
strength of security detachments may be less than at night. 

(5) In open terrain the strength of security detachments 
may be less than in closed terrain. 

e. As an outguard, the platoon posts individual tanks to 
cover approaches. As a support, the platoon posts outguards. 
As part of a support, it may be used to reinforce any threat- 
ened post. 



466462' 



109 



28 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



/. As part of the reserve, the platoon is used as a counter- 
attacking unit. Routes are reconnoitered and plans made 
to support any threatened point of the outpost system. 




□ 
DETACHED POST 

Figure 95. — Outpost system. 



110 



TANK PLATOON 



28 




23 ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




© Do not move to outpost position without march security, tnereby 
permitting the enemy to surprise you. 



^3 




1 ,0 \ 

® Mov» in march security formation (advance guard) or covered 
by a baited tank. 

Piodhe 97. — Moving Into position. 



112 



TANK PLATOON 



28 




® Do not cover a dismounted reconnaissance with weapons ol 
dismounted men only. 




® When local security la necessary to protect a dismounted recon- 
naissance, the radio operator or assistant gunner replaces the 
absent gunner. The tanks cover the dismounted reconnaissance. 

Figure 98. — Covering dismounted reconnaissance personnel. 



113 



28 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Before arriving at the outpost position, do not order Individual 
tanks to a certain point. The terrain always appears different 
than shown on the map. Unnecessary changes of positions are 
thus avoided. 




® Move entire platoon to the outpost position. Then determine, 
from personal reconnaissance, where the individual tanks should 
be posted. 

Figure 99. — Selecting position for tanks. 



114 



TANK PLATOON 



28 




® Do not march to the outpost position without Informing the 
platoon as to the situation and mission. If the commander is 
killed, his second in command will be ignorant of the situation. 




S> The platoon commander, before marching, must inform all tank 
commanders as to the situation and mission. 

Figure 100. — Inform platoon of mission. 



115 



28 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Figttre 101. — Upon going into position, the tank commander must 
at once determine the range to several terrain features. Thus, 
upon the appearance of the enemy, fire can be immediately opened 
with the correct range. Ranges to the limit of effectiveness of 
the principal weapon will be determined. 




Figure 102. — Place the tanks so they can block the important road 
with effective Are. This is usually more important than placing 
the tanks where observation is good but where the long range 
makes fire ineffective against enemy armored vehicles. 



116 



TANK PLATOON 2S 




© Do not halt between hushes, leaving the tank uncovered so enemy 
air reconnaissance can quickly locate it. 



® Drive the tank Into bushes, leaving it with a good field ol fire 
but difficult to recognize from the air. 

Figure 103. — Use of concealment. 



117 



28 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 





® Allow the oncoming armored car to reach short range so as to 
tajte It under destructive Are. 

Ptgdhe 104, — Allow hostile vehicles to approach within range before 

flring. 



118 



TANK PLATOON 28 




® Do not allow friendly vehicles to pass in the direction of the 
enemy without warning of your security post. 




® Stop friendly vehicles traveling toward the enemy; ask the mis- 
sion; explain the situation and location of your security post. 

Figure 105. — Stop friendly vehicles. 



119 



29 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL- 



■ 29. Covering Detachment. — As a covering detachment, the 
platoon precedes the company or battalion from an assembly 
position to the line of departure and protects from surprise. 
The covering detachment moves on a broad front, 100 to 200 
yards between tanks, and precedes the leading echeion by 
500 to 1,000 yards. 




Figure 106. — Covering detachment. 



130 



CHAPTER 6 



OFFENSIVE ACTION 



Paragraphs 



Section I. General 

,11. Tank crew 

III. Tank platoon 



30-32 
33-35 
36 42 



Section I 



GENERAL 



■ 30. General. — Offensive action of armored force units is 
discussed in FM 100-5 and'17-10. The tank is primarily an 
offensive weapon. Opportunity is sought at all times to 
exploit its characteristics of fire power, mobility, armor pro- 
tection, and shock action, 

■ 31. Formations. — The various formations described herein, 
are suited for particular types of operation. They should 
be practiced constantly so that one formation may be quickly 
assumed from any other formation. (See FM 17-5.) 

a. Llne.-i-This formation develops great fire power to the 
front. It is suitable for leading waves of the attack when 
heavily supported by other weapons. It has no depth. It is 
useful for a covering force. 

b. Line 0/ sections. — This formation might also be column 
of sections. It does not develop as much initial fire power 
to the front as does line. However, it lends itself readily to 
fire and maneuver, one section occupying firing positions to 
protect the advance of the other. The formation is easy to 
control, 

c. Column. — This formation develops little fire power to 
the front. It is useful primarily for approach marches, 
passing through heavy woods, and passing defiles. It is easy 
to control. 

d. Echelon. — This formation is useful for a flank platoon. 
It develops great initial fire power either to the front or flank. 
It is difficult to control. 



121 



31 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



-ZOO- 800 YDS ■ 



0^00 



LINE 



-*— 50-200 YDS-*- 









100- 

400 
YDS 



200- 

r400- 
YDS 





LING OF SECTIONS 



OJ 



ZOO- A 

600 O 
YDS 















200- 
400 
YDS 













COLUMN 



ECHELON 
RIGHT 







ECHELON 
LEFT 







^-200-400 YDS — 









-200-400 YDS 
WEDGE 



100- 
400 
YDS 

ol 





INVERTED WEDGE 



Figubs 107. — Formations, 

e. Wedge. — Wedge is a modified line -of- sections forma- 
tion. It affords good fire power to the front and either flank. 
It is easy to control as far as direction is concerned. How- 
ever, its fire power is difficult to control due to the fact that 
the platoon leader is not in a position to see his sections 
readily. 

122 



TANK PLATOON 



31-32 



A Inverted wedge. — Without radio, this formation is diffi- 
cult to control as far as direction is concerned. However, 
when radio is operating, the platoon leader can keep his pla- 
toon under close control as he is able to see all tanks and at 
the same time search the terrain for targets. He can by 
radio readily direct the movement of either section. This 
formation often results in combat when the platoon leader 
sends one section on an enveloping movement, covers its 
movement by the fire of the other section, and orders both 
sections to assault when the enveloping section is in position. 

■ 32. Installations. — The installations with which the tank 
platoon or section is primarily concerned are the assembly 
area, attack position, line of departure, and rallying point. 

a. Assembly area.' — ■The assembly area is an area in which 
troops preparing to attack are assembled. In this area the 
tank, platoon checks tanks, makes necessary adjustments on 
tanks and equipment, refuels tanks, checks on food and water, 
and receives information of the enemy and of the terrain. 
Orders for the attack may be issued in the assembly area. 
Usually the general plan of attack will be given here and 
final orders issued in the attack position. The assembly 
area is normally beyond hostile medium artillery range. 

b. Attack position. — The attack position is the last covered 
or concealed position before the line of departure is reached. 
Here last-minute checks are made on vehicles and final orders 
Issued. Here the final coordination with infantry is effected. 
Tanks must not stay in the attack position more than a few 
minutes. A long stay will cause surprise to be lost and will 
expose the platoon to hostile artillery fire. 

c. Line of departure. — The line of departure is a well- 
defined, easily recognizable terrain feature such as a small 
stream line or edge of a woods. Separate lines of departure 
may be given for individual platoons or companies. This is 
particularly true when a portion of the unit is making an 
envelopment. 

d. Rallying point. — The rallying point is a position where 
the unit reorganizes after the attack. It should be a well- 
denned, easily recognizable terrain feature. It should afford 
concealment. It is usually in front of an objective. An 



123 



32 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



alternate rallying point, usually the attack position, Is desig- 
nated to be occupied in case the rallying position is unob- 
tainable or untenable. A series of rallying points may be 
designated, one for each objective. The platoon leader may 
designate a rallying point but ordinarily this point will be 
designated by the company commander. At the rallying point 




Figure 108. — Installations. 



124 



TANK PLATOON 



32-34 



the platoon posts security, reorganizes, makes adjustments in 
ammunition, and cares for casualties, and the platoon leader 
reports the status of the platoon to the company commander. 

Section H 
TANK CREW 

■ 33. Cooperation. — a. The speed, Are power, armor protec- 
tion, and crushing power of the tank must be used to the 
utmost. To secure the maximum effectiveness of these 
characteristics, the tank commander must control his crew 
and the crew must have the maximum of coordination and 
cooperation. 

fj. The tank commander in accordance with orders of the 
platoon or section leader, or on his own initiative when such 
orders are lacking, controls the direction of movement by 
orders to the driver and controls the Are by orders to the 
gunners. Crew members must be trained, however, to act 
instinctively. The tank commander should not have to give 
long, detailed orders. In fact, he will not have time to do 
that. His orders must be brief. 

c. The tank commander directs the driver to drive in a 
certain direction or on a certain point. From time to time he 
tells him to vary the direction as necessary. The driver makes 
changes of direction to avoid irregularities in the ground, to 
take advantage of good terrain, and to avoid antitank gun fire. 
He must not make a sudden change of direction or stop 
Without notifying the tank commander and gunner. Such 
action will interfere with the aim of the gunners. 

d. The tank commander designates targets to the gunners 
and controls the Are of the guns by specifying the type of 
ammunition, if necessary, and by adjusting Are. The gunner 
must instinctively know and use the proper type of am- 
munition. 

■ 34. Operation. — Figures 109 to 117, inclusive, depict 
methods of operation and technique for the individual tank. 



486462 '—42 9 



125 



34 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Figure 109. — Beat down crew of enemy machine gun with fire and 
then crush the gun. Tanks are permitted to move somewhat 
(about 50 yards) to the right or left of their line of advance to 
do this. Beware of antitank mines. 



126 



TANK PLATOON 



34 




© Tank No. 1 should not leave its line of advance to crush an 
enemy machine gun lying a considerable distance (more than 50 
yards) to the right or left. 




® Tank No. 1 should hold its line of advance and let tank No. 2 
take care of the enemy machine gun. Tank No. 1 may indicate 
location of enemy machine gun by firing tracer. 

Piouhe 110. — Leaving direction of advance. 
127 



34 ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not disregard members of enemy machine-gun crew who have 
fled to shell holes. 




® Mop up enemy crew by running over the shell hole. 

FIgore 111. — Crush machine guns near direction ol advance. Be- 
ware of antitank mines. 



128 



TANK PLATOON 



34 




34 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




© Do not immediately abandon a tank which has became 
immovable. 




® Remain in the tank and participate in the combat as long as 

passible. 

PtoxniE 113. — Abandoning tank. 



130 



TANK PLATOON 



34 




131 



34 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




TANK PLATOON 





134 



TANK PLATOON 



35-37 



■ 35. Abandoning Tank. — For procedure in abandoning tank 
see FM 17-5. 

Section in 
TANK PLATOON 

■ 36. General. — The tank platoon usually operates as a unit 
although sections or individual tanks may operate alone in 
certain situations. The platoon commander controls his 
tanks by section or by individual tank. 

■ 37. First Echelon. — a. Tanks of the first echelon advance 
rapidly under support of all available supporting weapons — 
artillery, infantry weapons, and other tanks. When they 
meet resistance, platoons use fire and maneuver to reduce 
that resistance. Tank platoon leaders keep their company 
commander constantly informed of the situation, their losses, 
enemy resistance, and action taken. Call upon the company 
commander for artillery fire as needed. 

b. The platoon commander of the leading wave of the first 
echelon should comply with the following: 

(1) Do not permit tanks to be diverted from their primary 
mission by firing at unimportant targets. 

(2) When resistance is met, use fire and maneuver. 

(3) Select targets and give fire missions to the platoon, 
<4) Use speed and terrain to accomplish mission. 

(5) After a local attack, concentrate the platoon, reor- 
ganize, and continue on mission. 

(6) Keep company commander constantly informed of 
the situation 

c. The tank platoons in the second wave of attack advance 
by bounds from firing position to firing position and give 
continuous support to the leading wave. 

(1) Figure 118 shows diagrammatically a method of ad- 
vance and support. The arrows show the bounds made by 
each tank in supporting the leading wave. The circled sym- 
bols show firing positions taken by each tank, 

(2) Tanks of the second wave must advance rapidly be- 
hind the first wave. Some tanks must always be within sup- 
porting distance. Crews of the tanks in position must be 



135 



37 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



extremely alert for targets. The tank cannot remain in posi- 
tion very long as it will become a very vulnerable target. 

(3) Tanks emerging from the edge of woods or approach- 
ing within 800 yards of a ridge must always be supported by 
tanks in position. 

(4) .Tank platoons of the second wave may support the 
leading wave by indirect Are methods when such methods 
can give prompt support. 

d. Tank platoons in the second wave of attack protect the 
flanks and are ready to repel counterattacks. 



I t 




Figure 118. — Support at leading wave by second wave. 



136 



TANK PLATOON 38 

ENEMY 



A 



LEADING WAVE 









SECOND WAVE 



Figure 119. — A method of support of leading wave by Indirect fire. 

■ 38. Second Echelon. — a. The second echelon follows the 
first echelon close enough so that the enemy will not have 
time to reconstitute his antitank defense. This echelon, in 
addition to its mission of destruction of hostile automatic 
weapons and antitank guns passed over by the first echelon, 
protects the flanks and repels counterattacks from the flanks. 

b. Some platoons of the second echelon may be detailed 
to support by fire the first echelon. In such operations, their 
action is the same as the second wave of the leading echelon. 

c. The infantry may attack with the second echelon. The 
infantry attacks with the leading wave. The tanks do not 



137 



38-40 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



slow down to the pace of the infantry but keep on moving 
fast. Succeeding waves pass through the infantry. 

■ 39. Third Echelon. — a. The third echelon of attack usually 
attacks with the infantry and assists the infantry to advance. 
The infantry may advance with the second echelon (see 
par. 38). This echelon will run away from the infantry 
and the third echelon of tanks then takes over the task of 
assisting the infantry. 

b. The infantry may advance behind the second echelon of 
attack in carriers until forced to dismount. When the infan- 
try is forced to dismount, the tanks first take position to 
cover this action and then, assisted by the infantry, attack 
the enemy resistance by fire and maneuver. 

■ 40. Attack With Infantry. — a. When the infantry attacks 
first to secure ground from which a tank attack may be 
launched, tanks when practicable take position to assist the 
attack by fire. This assistance may be either by direct or 
indirect fire, i Targets are machine guns and other auto- 
matic weapons. Pill boxes or emplacements may be de- 
molished by armor piercing ammunition. The tank platoon 
leader is assigned a sector in which to support the infantry. 
He may be assigned targets or may fire on targets as they 
disclose themselves. 

b. When attacking through infantry in position, arrange- 
ments are made with the infantry for a passage of lines. 
These arrangements include paths to be taken by the tanks 
and means for infantrymen to identify themselves so they 
will not be run down by the tanks. All members of the tank 
crew must be particularly alert to prevent injury to their 
own infantry. 

c. When attacking with infantry, the following should be 
observed when applicable: 

(1) The platoon advances by fire and maneuver, one sec- 
tion always covering the advance of the Infantry and the 
other section. 

(2) The platoon joins in the fire fight only against danger-, 
ous targets. Do not waste ammunition on hostile riflemen 
at long range. The infantry supporting weapons will take 
care of that. 



138 



TANK PLATOON 



40 



(3) Be prepared to protect the infantry against a mech- 
anized attack. 

(4) Destroy antitank guns immediately, 

(5) If the platoon attacks ahead of the riflemen, hold the 
ground gained until the riflemen'close up. 

(6) Keep close contact with the rifle unit commander. 




CD In approach, do not use a wide formation which may cause part 
of the tanks to strike an obstacle and be lost, 




© In approach, use a deep formation so the platoon commander has 
all the tanks behind him arid can guide or halt them as necessary. 

Pict/be 120. — Formation in approach. 



139 



40 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 



I 







0) Do not begin a Are fight from a deep formation because fire of too 
few weapons can be brought into play. 




® Begin the Are fight from a wide front so Are power of all weapons 
can be Immediately brought into play. 

Figuxe 121. — Formation for beginning Are fight. 



140 



TANK PLATOON 



40 



1 « 

\ ! 




•! i ! 

! 




j i;° 





© Do not move all tanks of the platoon forward at one time. This 
causes many targets to be overlooked. Observation from a moving 
tank Is difficult. 




® Move platoon forward by having some tanks observe while others 
move. By alternating movement and halts, the great advantage 
ol shooting and observing Irom a stationary tank can be fully 
utilized. 

Ficube 122. — Method of advance. 



486462° — 42 10 141 



40 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not have all tanks of the platoon shoot at a discovered antitank 
weapon while moving. 




® Part of the platoon fires from halted tanks In defilade and the 
remainder of the platoon moves to envelop the enemy. The 
antitank weapon can usually he destroyed by the well-aimed fire 
of stationary tanks. 

Figure 123. — Attacking an antitank gun. 



142 



TANK PLATOON 



40 




Figuhe 124. — Observe occasionally from a halted tank. The field of 
view of the observer (especially In flank tanks) Is Increased toy 
halting. Fire against an antitank target can toetter toe observed. 
Halt In defilade or concealment. 



143 



40 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not advance the platoon on an open flank in a line or wedge 
formation. In such formation, the observation and ability to 
fire to a flank is limited. 




® Echelon the platoon on the open flank. In this formation, the 
weapons of all tanks have a full field of fire toward the flanks. 

Figure 125. — Formation for an open flank. 



144 



TANK PLATOON 



40 




© When confronted with both an antitank gun and a machine gun, 
do no J attack the machine gun first and thus allow the more 
dangerous weapon, the antitank gun, to continue firing. 




Destroy 



by fixe and movement the enemy antitank gun, 
disregarding the less dangerous targets. 

Figure 126, — Destroy more dangerous targets. 



145 



40 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not continue movement when the leading wave of tanks halts. 
The platoon then becomes bunched, providing an excellent target 
for the enemy. Bunching also limits use of tank weapons. 




© When the leading wave of tanks Is stopped, halt the platoon at 
once Under cover at a distance from the leading platoon. 

Figtjue 127. — Halt platoon when leading wave of tanks stops. 



146 



TANK PLATOON 



40 




147 



40 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




® Do not hold to the mission to fight enemy infantry In spite of 
the lact that the leading platoon has suffered heavy losses from 
antitank weapons. 




© 



© When the leading wave has suffered losses from enemy antitank 
guns, Immediately abandon the infantry mission and attack, by 
fire and movement, the most dangerous weapons. 

Figtjki; 129. — Attack more dangerous target. 



148 



TANK PLATOON 



41-42 



■ 41. Tank Versus Tank Action. — a. In tank versus tank 
action, it is essential that tank crews be able to recognize read- 
ily hostile tanks, that they know the capabilities of these tanks, 
the vulnerable points at which to fire, and the capabilities of 
their own and enemy tank weapons. In tank versus tank 
action, every advantage must be taken of terrain, the sun, 
direction of wind, weather, and your own weapons. 

b. If outranged by hostile weapons the following may be 
done: 

(1) Move to concealed positions and send some tanks to 
the enemy flanks. 

(2) Withdraw behind your own antitank gun defenses, 
keeping out of range of the enemy weapons. 

(3) Close on the enemy at maximum speed, attacking from 
direction of the sun if practicable. 

c. If your weapons outrange those of the enemy, close to 
effective range of your weapons but keep out of range of the 
enemy and halt to fire. 

■ 42. Attacking Fortifications. — Tanks avoid attacking for- 
tifications when possible. However, it may be necessary to 
attack bunkers, pill boxes, and fixed gun emplacements in 
order to effect a break-through. These fortifications are 
attacked by small teams consisting of a tank platoon, an 
infantry platoon, and engineers, supported by artillery and 
mortars. The method of attack will vary with the terrain, 
the armament of the emplacement, and the wind direction. 

a. Attacking machine-gun emplacements. — In attacking a 
machine-gun emplacement, a section of tanks covered by the 
remainder of the platoon rush the emplacement and destroy 
it by crushing. If the emplacement cannot be destroyed by 
crushing, infantry or engineers following the tanks destroy 
the personnel by dropping a grenade in an opening or by 
use of a flame thrower. 

b. Destroying antitank gun emplacement — In attacking an 
antitank gun emplacement, methods must be varied accord- 
ing to wind and terrain conditions, 

(1) If wind conditions are favorable, that is, from flank or 
down range — 

(a) Artillery and air bombardment destroy enemy artillery, 



149 



42 



armored force field manual 




TANK PLATOON 



42 




Figure 131, — If you cannot maneuver to the flank or take up 
defiladed position, withdraw to your own antitank defense. 



151 



42 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




Ficube 132. — It you cannot withdraw to antitank defenses, close 
with enemy at maximum speed and attack him from the sun. 
Your supporting mortars should place smoke on the enemy if 
within range. 



152 



TANK PLATOON 



42 







gtc O O 

« 5 — 



O o o 

IE 

4 



A 
/ \ 

< > 

V 



< > 



< > 



A 
< > 

\ / 

V 



V 



V 



A 
/ \ 

< > 
V 



< > 







EFFECTIVE 
RANGE 
ENEMY GUNS 
800 YARDS 



EFFECTIVE 

RANGE 
YOUR GUNS 
1500 YARDS 



Figure 133. — ir you outrange the enemy, close to effective range but 
keep out of his range. 



153 



42 



ARMORED FORCE FIELD MANUAL 




^ ENEMY 

® Do not fight an enemy antitank gun when an enemy tank is 
approaching; the enemy tank Is the more dangerous weapon. 




® From position, defend at once against the enemy tank attack. 
Figure 134. — Attack more dangerous target. 

© Do not ram an enemy tank. Your own tank may be rendered 

useless. 




® Destroy enemy tank by Are. 
Figure 135. — Do not ram an enemy tank. Destroy it by fire. 



154 



TANK PLATOON 



42 



(b) Just before the attack, artillery places a concentration 
on the emplacement and adjacent infantry. 

(c) Smoke is placed on the emplacement and those ad- 
jacent. 

(d) The tanks, followed closely by engineers and infantry, 
rush forward- The tanks crush the protecting wire and the 
infantry and engineers destroy the hostile gun crew. 

(e) Infantry automatic weapons keep down the fire of ad- 
jacent riflemen. After the emplacement is taken, tanks and 
infantrymen destroy the adjacent troops. 

(2) If wind direction is not right, that is, if it is blowing 
toward you, the procedure is as follows: 

(a) Artillery and air bombardment is used as in (1) above. 

(b) Smoke adjacent emplacements. 

(c) Infantry protected by automatic weapons and fire of 
one section of tanks moves forward. 

(d) One section of tanks precedes the infantry. 

(e) The other section of tanks fires on the loopholes of the 
emplacement. 

(/) The leading section of tanks finds a good position and 
brings fire on the loopholes and the rear section then advances. 

(g) One section of tanks crushes protective wire while 
other section covers this action. 

(h) Infantry and engineers then destroy the emplacement, 
c. Attacking emplacements by platoon alone, — Should the 

platoon have to attack the emplacement alone, use 75-mm 
smoke shell to blind the defenders while one sections rushes 
the emplacement. 



155 



CHAPTER VII 



DEFENSE 

■ 43. General. — Defensive action by armored units is covered 
in PM 100-5 and PM 17-10. Tank plattons in defense are 
used as counterattacking units. They are not used as ar- 
mored pill boxes. 

■ 44. Procedure in Defense. — a. The tank platoon will be part 
of a larger unit used as a counterattacking force. This force 
makes limited objective attacks. The platoon functions as in 
any other attack. 

b. When in a defense position the tank platoon leader, his 
tank commanders, and drivers make a thorough reconnais- 
sance of the ground over which they may attack. Several 
plans of attack may be given and the ground over which each 
will take place must be thoroughly known. Some of this 
reconnaissance must be made on foot. Landmarks must be 
noted and complete plans made for the attack. 

■ 45. Withdrawal. — a. The tank platoon will usually be part 
of a larger force. With this force it makes fast limited objec- 
tive attacks to disorganize the enemy and then rapidly with- 
draws. In this action the platoon may be used to give sup- 
porting fires as in offensive' action. 

b. The platoon may also be used to cover road blocks. In 
such action, tanks take position where they can cover by fire 
the approaches to the road block and also be mutually sup- 
porting in case the enemy sends dismounted men around the 
block. 



156 



it, 



AitMdaEfi f6rce FiELb ManuAL 




INDEX 



Paragraphs Page 

Abandoning tank 35 125 

Advance party 25 85 

Ammunition 9-11 30 

Antitank guns 11,34,4031,125,139 

Artillery support 13,25 54.85 

Assembly area 23,32 85,123 

Attack : 

Kchelons 37-39, 41 135, 149 

Formations 31 121 

Of antitank guns 11,34,40 31, 

125 138 

Of fortifications 42 ' 149 

Position 32 123 

Tank crew In 33 125 

Tank platoon in... 36-42 135 

Tank versus tank 41 149 

With infantry 40 138 

Bivouac 22 73 

Characteristics ,. 3 1 

Control 12 54 

Cooperation 33 125 

Coordination 4 3 

Covering detachment 29 120 

Defense 43, 44 156 

Echelons of attack 4,37-39 3,135 

Fire and maneuver 4 3 

Fire control 12 54 

Flank guard 26 104 

Formations 31 ■ 121 

Fortification, attack 43 349 

Fundamentals 4, 37 3, 135 

Halts 17,21 00,73 

Infantry, attack with 40 138 

Installations 32 123 

Line of departure 32 123 

Maintenance 18 60 

Marches: 

Discipline . . 15 59 

Distance _ ., 16 60 

General - 15 59 

Halts 17 60 

Maintenance 18 60 

Rate - 16 60 

Security --- 20.21.25 2 7 70,73,85 

Mass 4 3 



153 



INDEX 



Offensive action: Paragraphs Page 

Abandoning tanks 35 125 

Attacking fortification 42 149 

Attack with infantry. 40 138 

Cooperation 33 125 

Echelons of attack... 4,37-39 3,135 

Formations 31 121 

General 30 121 

InstaSlation 32 123 

Tank crew 33-35 125 

Tank platoon 36^2 135 

Tank versus tank 41 149 

Operation, tank 34 125 

Orders 13 54 

Organization 2 1 

Outpost 28 109 

Radio 12, 15, 20 54.59,70 

Rallying point. ._ 24.32 85. 123 

Rate of march.- 16 60 

Rear guard 27 104 

Reconnaissance , 14,26 55.104 

Security : 

Advance party 25 85 

Assembly urea 23 85 

Bivouac 22 73 

Covering detachment 29 120 

Flank guard _ 26 104 

General 19 70 

Halt 21 75 

March 20 70 

Outpost 28 109 

Rear guard.. _ 27 104 

Smoke .. 10 3o 

Surprise 4 3 

Tank crew „ .. 33 -35 125 

Tank platoon 36-42 13a 

Tank versus tank i 41 149 

Terrain 7,8 8.9 

Training; 

Ammunition .. 9-11 30 

General . 5 6 

Procedure _ 6 7 

Terrain 7,8 a, 9 

Weapon 9.11 30.31 

Withdrawal ... 45 156 

Weapons 9-11.25 30.85 



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